Mar 8 2019

In honor of Women’s History Month, Dress Best For Less shares the origins of Dress Best for Less.

In 1982, Wendy [Webster] Willrich, along with Jeanne Clark and other mothers of Havens Elementary School children, started collecting clothing and household items to sell to the community in order to raise money for the schools. This was the genesis of what would later become Dress Best for Less.

The enterprise quickly outgrew the space at the school and decided to open the Dress Best for Less shop at its original location on Piedmont Avenue where the store remained for almost 3 decades until moving to its current location  at 3411 Lakeshore Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610. 

For 37 years (and counting), DBFL has raised funds for the Piedmont Education Foundation.  DBFL is the single largest contributor to PEF, with donations totaling over $1 million dollars.

In addition, DBFL is proud to contribute to the community at large, regularly donating to community groups in the East Bay and beyond, such as Bay Area schools, St. Vincent de Paul, animal rescue organizations, Oakland Children’s Hospital and more.

To this day, Dress Best for Less remains a woman-run organization. The bulk of the DBFL team are volunteers, most of whom are mothers of current and former Piedmont School children.  DBFL is living proof of what a few dedicated and driven woman can accomplish.

Donations are always needed.

Marking Room:
799 Magnolia Avenue,
Piedmont, CA 94611
Phone – 510-653-0221
Monday – 10:00am – noon
Tuesday – 9am – 4pm
Wednesday – 9am – 4pm
Saturday – 10am – noon

DBFL Store:
3411 Lakeshore Avenue
Oakland, CA 94610

510-658-8525
shopdbfl@gmail.com

Tuesday-Saturday
11:00am – 6:00pm

Information> http://dressbestforless.org/

Mar 8 2019

The Premier Plant Exchange in California is 100% volunteer run!

Master gardeners answer questions and plant specialists identify donations.

Free to everyone.

Saturday, March 23rd, noon to 4 p.m.

4500 Lincoln Ave. in Oakland

The Plant Exchange is a free community event that began in Oakland, California in October 2007 as a way for our neighbors to get to know each other. It also encourages reuse, recycling, organic living, resource sharing, and information exchange.

This event rapidly grew to include gardeners, landscapers, urban farmers, and outdoor fans from all 9 Bay Area counties.  Now, over 2500 plants change hands.

Questions or volunteer at connect@theplantexchange.com

Read for more information > here.

Mar 8 2019

Deadline for proposals: Tuesday, March, 19, 2019

The Capital Improvement Projects Review Committee (CIP) is soliciting proposals for new city projects which would enhance our community. Ideas submitted by individuals, community organizations and City Staff are all considered. If you have a great idea, the committee would like to hear from you.

Download the > Proposal Form. Proposals are due no later than Tuesday, March 19th at 5:00 p.m.  Completed forms should be returned to the Department of Public Works, 120 Vista Avenue.

All applicants/residents that have submitted proposals will be personally invited to attend the CIP meeting scheduled on April 9, 2019.  At this meeting, applicants will be asked to briefly describe their projects to the CIP Review Committee. The CIP Review Committee will then determine which projects will require a site visit.

The April 9 meeting is a public meeting.  All interested individuals are welcome to attend and participate in the meeting proceedings.

The CIP Site Visit Tour will be scheduled for a Saturday in early May. The tour will commence at City Hall at 9:00 am and then will proceed to CIP tour stops located throughout the City. At each of the tour stops the CIP Review Committee will see the locations for proposed projects first hand.

At noon, a working lunch will be provided at City Hall for Committee members, city staff, and interested citizens. At this working lunch the CIP Review Committee will attempt to compose their list of 2019-2020 CIP projects that they recommend as a part of this year’s budget process. The CIP chair in conjunction with CIP Review Committee members will be asked to prepare a list of recommended projects and narrative that will be forwarded to the City Council for consideration in the budget process.

If you have questions regarding the CIP process, please contact Nancy Kent Parks & Project Manager, at (510) 420-3064.

CIP Committee Roster as of 3/7/19

Michael Henn

Susan Herrick

Bobbe Stehr

Jeffrey St. Claire

PBF Representative – Nancy McHugh

Park Commission Representative – Jim Horner

Recreation Commission Representative – TBD

Mar 8 2019

At the Capital Improvements Project Review Committee (CIP) meeting a request concerning City funding for better court surfaces at Piedmont Middle School (PMS) was made by Rick Schiller, Pickleball enthusiast.

At their March 5, 2019 meeting, the City Council appeared positive concerning new asphalt at PMS. The Tennis/Pickleball sub-committee report contains the specific recommendation for Pickleball.  Sub-committee Chair Steve Roland spoke in support for City funding of new asphalt and Pete Palmer, in charge of Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) facilities, stated PUSD has no issue with this,  but the School District has no funds to pay for resurfacing of the courts.

“While bids are not finalized, about $60,000 gets us a new asphalt surface – no cracks! – with new poles.  About another $85,000-$90,000 gets a tennis court quality overlay. The three courts at each of the three PMS venues are too cramped and the best option is likely striping two Pickleball courts parallel to the three badminton courts, if that can be worked out. The green on white striping at Oakland’s Bushrod courts works well.”  Rick Schiller

Traditionally past projects approved by CIP have had partial private funding.

The Eight month trial at Hampton and Linda-Beach Courts will have a neighbor survey in 4 weeks from the start of Pickleball usage.

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Mar 8 2019

Recycling vs. Landfill

Materials that could have been reused as recycling go directly into a landfill due to contamination.

Fact 1: The average recycling contamination rate is 25%, or 1 in 4 items.

Fact 2: The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 75% of waste is recyclable, yet only close to 34% of it is recycled.

Fact 3: While glass can be reused for an estimated 1 million years, glass cookware — such as Pyrex, ceramics, and ovenware — can’t be recycled.

Fact 4:  Heavily soiled paper, wax coated paper, and shredded paper cannot be recycled.

Fact 5: Compostable items can contaminate your recycling. The processes of composting and recycling are very different, so you can’t recycle food waste or compostable serviceware.

Fact 6: The three-arrow triangle symbol on plastics  does not necessarily indicate that the material is accepted in the local recycling stream.  The symbol also shows the type of plastic it is. Plastics labeled #3 – #7 are typically only recycled in limited areas. So pay close attention!

Fact 7: Nearly 1,000 recycling plants in California alone have shut down within the last two years due to the recycling contamination crisis.

Fact 8:  Did you know that you can recycle your cigarette butts to be converted into energy? Check out TerraCycle and the Butts to Watts program to find out more.

Fact 9: According to the Government Advisory Associates, material recovering facilities in the U.S. using single-stream recycling has increased by 82.6% in the last ten years.

Fact 10: Proper recycling generates over half a million jobs and over 100 billion dollars of economic activity in the U.S.

Fact 11: Total scrap plastic exports have declined by 40% in the last year mostly due to the U.S.’s high level of recycling contamination.

Fact 12: Despite pricey recycling campaigns and new sorting technologies, recycling levels haven’t improved in the U.S. in 20 years.

Fact 13: In 2017, a survey by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries found that 28% of responders were confused a+bout recycling, believing that it was a highly technical and sophisticated issue.

Fact 14: Recycle Across America has launched a massive recycling solution campaign by promoting nationwide standardization of recycling labels.

Read more of the Rubicon recycling report here.

Mar 8 2019

LWVP Biannual Fundraiser 2019

Carla Marinucci

Renowned political journalist Carla Marinucci will speak about the current political environment at a fundraiser for the Piedmont League of Women Voters. 

Carla Marinucci, one of the most notable political journalists in California, is currently POLITICO’s California Playbook reporter. Prior to joining POLITICO last year, Marinucci was senior political writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, and before that for the San Francisco Examiner. She has covered presidential elections since 1996, and six California gubernatorial elections, as well as the administrations of four California governors. In 2013, she was honored by the Society of Professional Journalists with a lifetime achievement award for her coverage of California politics.

  • Date: Sunday, March 24, 2019
  • Time: 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. (Refreshments 3:30 to 4:00 p.m.)
  • Location: Piedmont Veterans’ Memorial Building, 401 Highland Ave, Piedmont  94611   See map: Google Maps
  • Tickets: $25 in advance; $30 at the door ($10 student tickets available at the door)
 Purchase your tickets via PayPal with the button below. (You do not need a PayPal account.)

Prefer to mail a payment? Make your check payable to LWVP and mail to Ward Lindenmayer, 40 Highland Avenue, Piedmont, CA  94611. Please note how many tickets you are purchasing.

Editors’ Note: The Piedmont Civic Association is a separate organization.
Mar 6 2019

Increased drug and alcohol usage among Piedmont students. 

On Wednesday, February 27th, the Piedmont School Board had their bi-monthly meeting to discuss and vote on accepting or rejecting a grant for the implementation of a Student Resource Officer (SRO) at the Piedmont and Millennium High Schools.

Randall Booker, Superintendent, presented the plan for Piedmont’s SRO with a grant that would fund this project for the next three years. Driven by the results of the Healthy Kids Survey which raised alarm regarding increased drug and alcohol usage among students, Booker’s goals for the program were to strengthen transparency and improve the school culture. With more adults with eyes on campus that know the landscape and the students, and a clear MOU, Booker shared that he believed implementation of an SRO would support Piedmont’s principle of being a “district of continual improvement”.

Chief Jeremy Bowers of Piedmont Police Department and partner in the creation of the SRO plan, outlined the department’s current involvement at the secondary Piedmont schools, reporting that 400+ calls have been made to the Police Department from the schools from 2013-2018 – which is 1- 2 calls per week, all in addition to having officers in front of and around campuses patrolling traffic. Bowers believed that an SRO would help improve the learning environment, and be a constructive complement to the Piedmont School District.

Officers from both Los Gatos-Monte Sereno and Atherton Police departments shared their experiences with an SRO, calling it a “very successful program” that has led to the creation of important personal relationships that allow students to feel safe calling the SRO during a crisis. Having someone who understands the culture of the school and knows how to interact with the students has led to a form of educational discipline customized for each student. They also shared some of their other programs, like the juvenile and vaping diversion programs, which have been constructive additions to the school environment.

Booker and Bowers eased some worries by outlining the detailed plan for Piedmont’s SRO, including ways to prevent overcriminalization; however, board members seemed weary over the fact that the SRO would be armed, as did community members.

According to Booker’s survey, 75.3% of parents said they were concerned about the firearm, and 56% saw no benefit in the program. 56% of students also said they saw no benefit in the program, and that it set the wrong tone for students, especially for those who already feel marginalized.

Mr. Kessler, representing the Association of Piedmont Teachers, expressed concern with the implementation of an SRO, stating he was against having an adult filling so many roles on campus.

Thirteen high school students from Piedmont and Millennium High all shared their thoughts agreeing that this program would hinder their school environment. Some gave suggestions for solutions, including implementation of the vaping diversion program to prevent drug use, and active shooter drills to help students feel better prepared in a school crisis.

I was not in support of an SRO, and felt that if the concern was drug and alcohol use, there were much easier and more effective solutions to prevent this usage. Plus, no studies have shown that an SRO has decreased drug and alcohol use, making me think this program is a waste of money and resources.

After voicing their opinions, the Board voted 4-1 against accepting the grant for an SRO with President of the Board, Amal Smith wanting to accept the SRO grant.

Booker continued to suggest modifications to the plan, like having the SRO be located in the Piedmont Police station, but there was little flexibility available in the grant proposal, therefore a revised plan may be futile.

by Julie Huffaker, Piedmont High School Senior

Mar 6 2019

2019 Design Awards Gala on March 14, 2019

Each year, the City of Piedmont Planning Commission hosts a Design Awards program to recognize design projects completed in the past year. Awards are given to the property owners of projects that not only meet Piedmont’s design and planning guidelines, but exemplify outstanding design excellence.

The City of Piedmont will host a Design Awards Ceremony and Gala on Thursday, March 14, 2019 starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Piedmont Community Hall, 711 Highland Avenue. Anyone interested in celebrating excellence in architectural design is welcome to attend.  There is no charge for attendance. 

Design awards will be presented for the following categories:

  • Excellent Garage and Outdoor Living Design – 38 Monte Avenue
  • Excellent Outdoor Living Area – 1080 Harvard Road
  • Excellent Multi-Family Development – The Piedmont Collection Townhomes on Linda Avenue
  • Excellent Window Design – 104 Latham Street
  • Excellent Seamless Upper Level Addition – 110 Fairview Avenue

With an emphasis on public participation, this is the first time the award ceremony has been separated from a regular Planning Commission meeting schedule.

 For more information about the Design Awards, please contact Planning Technician Steven Lizzarago at 510-420-3094 or at slizzarago@piedmont.ca.gov.
Mar 6 2019

In 2013, our current flat rate per parcel School Tax was passed by voters to replace the previous Tax based on a five tier parcel size levy, a modestly progressive tax. Our School Board expressed sincere regret at eliminating the progressive tax but believed it had no choice other than to tax all parcels regardless of size at the same rate because of the 2012 Boricas v Alameda USD Appeal’s Court decision.

Of the 3,921 School tax parcels in Piedmont, 76% of Piedmont homes are on parcels under 10,000 square feet (“sf”). These taxpayers previous $1,989 and $2,260 tax became $2,406 in 2013, a 6% to 21% increase.  Owners of undeveloped parcels went from $1,009 to $2,406, a 238% increase. However, a small percentage of taxpayers benefited as owners of large parcels, commercial buildings and multi-unit buildings saw reductions of 7% to 80%. Some large commercial buildings previously taxed at $5,052 went to $2,406, a 52% decrease. 20,000 sf lots went from $3,378 to $2,406, a 29% decrease. A multi-unit building went from $11,907 to $2,406, an 80% decrease.

A progressive tax based on per square footage of building space is used in Alameda and other districts. The current Alameda tax passed by 74% in 2016 was challenged in 2017 on the validity of levying a tax on building square footage. Mar 4, 2018, the Alameda Schools per square footage of building tax was found legally valid in Alameda County Superior Court. Jan 31, 2019, a California appellate court validated a local agency’s special tax calculated on the basis of square footage of improved structures (Dondlinger v. Los Angeles County Regional).

Piedmont Schools previously embraced a partially progressive tax and now has an excellent progressive tax option that is far more equitable by using building per square footage. I propose the following progressive tax:

(1) Tax will be at $1 to $1.05 per square foot of building size. The District will determine the exact rate needed to provide funding at slightly above the current level.

(2) $4,999 will be the maximum tax for any building.

(3) Currently some multi-parcel estates are subject to multiple taxes and some are subject to one tax (GC 53087.4). So that all multi-parcel estates are treated uniformly and given that many multi-parcel estates have large homes that will be assessed at the maximum tax, a contiguous parcel exemption will be included. No property owner for a single home will pay more than $4,999.

(4) $1,099 will be the rate for unimproved lots.

(5) A 2% annual cost adjustment will be included.

(6) The tax may include an income based senior exemption at a rate to be determined so as not to cost the District more than 2% of the what the total tax revenue would be without this exemption.

(7) Compassionate SSI and SSDI exemptions will be included. These are not aged based.

        Rick Schiller, Piedmont Resident

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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Mar 5 2019

The Piedmont Park Commission on March 6 will consider  consultants’ work reducing the landfill stream originating from Piedmont public activities.

In 2018, the City hired Abbe and Associates using money from ratepayers waste removal charges to provide outreach and technical assistance for waste reduction, recycling, and composting to reduce the landfill stream.  The consultants have been working with City staff, Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) staff and students to streamline and improve waste reduction, recycling, and composting at City and School facilities.  Purpose of the consultants work is to:

  • To increase the City’s and PUSD’s rate of diversion from landfill to 75% by working with staff and students.
  • To educate about proper sorting habits to reduce contaminants in recycling and organics.

[Read the report Abbe Environ EXHIBIT A piedmont evergreen ]

On Wednesday, March 6, Laura McKaughan of Abbe and Associates will report on the progress achieved from July through December, 2018, the first six months of the program.

Civic events in Piedmont generate significant waste.

Another focus of the consultant work was the challenge to bring large celebrations and civic events –Harvest Festival, Turkey Trot, and Christmas Tree Lighting – into less wasteful patterns.

In 2018, the Harvest Festival achieved an 87% recycling rate (1635 gallons of waste material generated at the Festival was recycled or composted and only 245 gallons went to the landfill).  The 2018 Turkey Trot achieved a 96% recycling rate (548 gallons of waste material generated at the race was recycled or composted and only 24 gallons went to the landfill).  Preferred foodware options were identified for use at other events and even staff meetings.

The consultants work with the Piedmont Unified School District to reduce waste going to landfill.

The consultants worked with Piedmont Unified School District personnel by making site assessments of the High School and Middle School.  New outdoor recycling containers were installed at the High School with additional installations planned at all school campuses.

__________

Piedmont Park Commission Meeting Agenda: Wednesday, March 6, 5:30 p.m., in City Hall:

  1.  Approval of Park Commission Minutes for February 6, 2019
  2.  Update on Olive Ave. Street Tree Replacements
  3.  Report from Abbe and Associates: Piedmont Evergreen Team  Abbe Environ EXHIBIT A piedmont evergreen
  4.  Consideration of New Trash, Recycle and Green Waste Containers for Outdoor Public Spaces
  5.  Update on Heritage Tree Nominations for 2019
  6.  Update on Arbor Day 2019
  7.  Monthly Maintenance Report

The meeting will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 27 and on the City website for the Piedmont Park Commission meetings  http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/video/.

For additional information, contact Nancy Kent at NKent@piedmont.ca.gov